Thursday, June 30 2022
A rendering of the 22 micro-unit apartment building that Covenant House Alaska is constructing downtown. (SALT Architects)

Covenant House Alaska is expanding. The shelter for homeless and at-risk youth is adding a building with tiny apartments to its existing center in downtown Anchorage.

Covenant House executive director Alison Kear explained the $ 5 million project at a ceremony on Tuesday.

“On this footprint, where we’re going to innovate, there will be 22 (or) 23 micro-units,” she said. “It’s a three story building that will kind of mirror this building but will be a wooden structure.”

Woman in sleeveless top and sunglasses
Alison Kear is Executive Director of Covenant House Alaska. (Liz Ruskin / Alaska Public Media)

The micro units are 250 square feet in size and each will have its own kitchen and bathroom. They are designed for single occupants aged 18-24. Residents will also have access to the services of the main building.

Kear said the small apartments would help young people who no longer need the gathering setting of a shelter but want more of a sense of community than they get when they are alone.

“We see this as a way to have their independence and also meet the needs of the community,” Kear said. “And being able to have breakfast with 20 people, or have breakfast alone. So, for some young people, it is this missing ingredient.

The building is funded by federal housing programs, the Cook Inlet Housing Authority and donations. Weidner Apartment Homes contributed $ 1 million, Kear said.

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